At age 31, Joy (Wall) Stuckey became a widow when her husband, United Methods! Pastor Rev. Robert *Bob* Wall, was killed in a tragic car accident. Now, 60 years later, 91-year-old Joy credits the generosity of The United Methodist Church with saving her file.
Joy and Bob Wall had been married for 10 years and had two sons, Randy, 7, and Linden, 5, whon they went to Avilla UMC, an appointment Joy described as “our niche. Everything about us just fit there.” Six months later, tragedy struck.
It was a cold Sunday afternoon in January when Bob received a call that their planned guest missionary speaker couldn’t come to their program that night, so he drove to Fort Wayne to get a movie as a backup plan. As he was on his way home, he followed a small truck with a lawnmower in the back, “with no rope or gate, Joy said.
The lawnmower bounced off of the truck in front of Bob. In an attempt to avoid hitting it, he crashed into a vehicle with four other people, who were badly injured but survived. Bob did not.
The Board at Avilla graciously offered to let Joy and her sons stay in the parsonage until the spring, which they did.
At the time, The United Methodist Church offered widows 1 year of their husband’s salary. “A few months later, I got word that the church had taken out a new insurance policy, and I’d be getting $27,000,” Joy said. She also received a $900/month pension, which she said, “kept us alive.”
“Suddenly, I was 31 and homeless with no education and no income.” Joy said. I thought, ‘1 have to make a living, but what am I going to do?”
She had taught Sunday School class for years, so elementary education seemed like a good fit. Three years later, she graduated with a degree from St. Francis College and ended up teaching for 30+ years.
Six years after Bob’s death, Joy married Maynard Stuckey, a union that lasted 42 years until he died in
2007. “When I got remarried, my pension stopped,”
Joy said. “As soon as I was widowed again, my pension picked back up.”
“Joy’s story illustrates the value of our Connection and our Connectional giving,” said Rodney Frieden Chairman of the Committee on Finance and Administration and Pastor of Epworth UMC in Indianapolis.
In this instance, our Connection allowed the Church to be the Church, caring for the widows and orphans, just as we have been instructed. And in doing so, Joy’s life was changed.”
Today, Joy lives in Otterbein SeniorLife Community in Franklin, Indiana, a Methodist institution, and sho attends Grace UMC in Franklin. “I’ve been in The Methodist Church all my life. It’s all I know, really, but I stay in The Methodist Church because they allow you to use your mind.” she said.
Reflecting on the generous funds that she has received over the years, Joy said, “I need to thank The United Methodist Church. It saved my life.
Literally. My gratitude is immense.”